woensdag 30 december 2015

The Best Photography Exhibitions 2015

Rianne van Dijck Fotografie

1 The Order of Things, werk van o.a. August Sander, Karl Blossfeldt, Thomas Ruff, Ai Weiwei in The Walther Collection, Duitsland. Met deze expositie van kunstenaars die catalogiseren, classificeren, archiveren en ordenen laat De Duitse verzamelaar Arthur Walther zien dat hij een van de interessantste fotoverzamelaars is.

The Walther Collection presents The Order of Things: Photography from The Walther Collection, a survey exhibition exploring how the organization of photographs into systematic sequences or typologies has affected modern visual culture. The Order of Things investigates the production and uses of serial portraiture, conceptual structures, vernacular imagery, and time-based performance in photography from the 1880s to the present, bringing together works by artists from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. The exhibition, curated by Brian Wallis, former Chief Curator at the International Center of Photography in New York, will be on view at The Walther Collection in Neu-Ulm, Germany, beginning May 17, 2015, and will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Steidl/The Walther Collection.

2 Mijn Vlakke Land. FoMu, Antwerpen. Lofzang op de schoonheid en de meditatieve kracht van de natuur.

MIJN VLAKKE LAND: On photography and landscape
This summer, FOMU takes you on a visual journey through unspoiled nature and poses the question: Is it possible to recreate the sensation of hiking within the walls of a museum? When we go for a walk, we experience a succession of impressions that melt almost imperceptibly into each other. The exhibition Mijn Vlakke Land (My Flat Land) is a photographic montage that features works from 1856 to 2015 by over 50 artists from Belgium and abroad.

The ambivalence of landscape is at the heart of the exhibition, from safe haven to an experience of the sublime. Rather than a presentation of contemporary or historic points of view, the exhibition is conceived as an associative tour through nature. The only human presence is that of the photographer, who attempts to capture a personal vision of the natural scenery. Can an artist hold their own in such a poetic encounter with the elements?

Music lovers will recognise the reference to Jacques Brel in the title of this exhibition. Alongside the tribute to Brel’s lush ode to the Low Countries, flat also refers to an inevitable physical characteristic of photography. A photograph is a two-dimensional object on to which we project desires and expectations. The summer exhibition is thus more of a hymn to the romantic landscapes of our hearts and imaginations than to the actual Flemish countryside.

3 Ken Schles: Invisible City / Night Walk, Noorderlicht Fotogalerie Groningen.

Ken Schles - Invisible City/Night Walk 1983 - 1989
This spring the Noorderlicht Photogallery digs deep into a mythic time in New York’s Lower East Side. Ken Schles’ images from the 1980s are a gritty, penetrating portrayal of a city racked with violence, when crime rates were high and drug addicts and artists ruled his downtown world. An explosive but creative cocktail yielding an intoxicating brew of light, darkness and desire.

The exhibition of 100 black and white photographs coincides with the publication of a new Steidl monograph, Night Walk (2014), a companion to Schles’s underground cult classic Invisible City (1988). Recently reprinted by Steidl, Invisible City is considered alongside Brassaï’s Paris de Nuit and Ed van der Elksen’s Love On The Left Bank to be one of the great depictions of the nocturnal bohemian experience of the 20th century.

4 Annette Behrens | Looking for Carl. Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam

The discovery of the so-called Höcker Album in September 2007 made headlines all over the world. From the start, visual artist Annette Behrens was intrigued by the unique photo album: it is the first album ever to show the living conditions and leisure activities of Nazis who were posted to Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Owner of the album was SS officer Karl-Friedrich Höcker (1911 – 2000), who worked in Auschwitz as the commandant’s aide-de-camp in 1944. The album contains 116 photos from this period showing, among other things, outings by Höcker together with fellow camp personnel and top-ranking officers of the Nazi regime.

From May 30th until August 23, the Nederlands Fotomuseum presents Behrens’ intensive search for more information surrounding Höcker’s identity. In the exhibition Behrens gives the historical visual material with regard to this man a prominent place. Also, the confrontation with her own German background comes to the surface during her research.

Annette Behrens: (in matters of) Karl from Marcin Grabowiecki on Vimeo.

5Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts. Huis Marseille Amsterdam

Imperial Courts, 1993–2015

The Huis Marseille exhibition Imperial Courts, 1993–2015 displays for the first time the entirety of the work of photographer Dana Lixenberg made in the neighbourhood of Los Angeles from which it takes its name over the last twenty-two years. Through her photography, video, and audio works, Lixenberg offers us an intimate glimpse into the everyday life of this troubled area and its residents.

In 1944, as part of a large-scale public housing project, 498 single-family houses were built in Watts, a district of Los Angeles. During the 1950s, most of the people housed there were African-Americans from the Southern States. Imperial Courts, together with the surrounding districts, soon became a black ghetto. In 1965, rising anger at social injustice resulted in the notorious Watts rebellion and race rioting. In 1992, riots again broke out after four LAPD police officers were acquitted of the brutal beating of Rodney King, a black taxi driver. The same streets were also the battleground of a bloody conflict between two gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, until they agreed on a truce in 1993.

‘You want to put some niggas on display? Hahaha,’ was Tony Bogard’s reaction, leader of the PJ Watts Crips gang when Dana Lixenberg first met him in 1993, at the height of racial tensions in Los Angeles. Apart from the media, no one ever visited South Central Los Angeles, let alone the ‘projects’. Lixenberg was at first regarded with suspicion. The community was fed up with media attention and the negative stereotypes that came with it. But Lixenberg was persistent, and was eventually granted the approval of Tony Bogard, who would later play a crucial role in negotiating a truce between the Crips and the Bloods. During the month that followed, Lixenberg gradually won the trust of the residents of Imperial Courts.

Using a large-format camera mounted on a tripod, she portrayed them in black and white with only natural light. She intentionally photographed her subjects against neutral backgrounds, rather than locations loaded with meaning, such as graffiti-filled walls, and she kept references to gang culture out of her images. In so doing, according to the former director of photography at Vibe magazine, in which her work was first published in 1993, she created ‘a moving yet shrewdly quiet range of pictures that afforded her subjects the pleasure of being themselves as compelling individuals […] despite their monolithic, emotionally reserved surfaces, her casts of subjects surge throughout this dazzling series with a collective cool and an unfussy sense of elegance that imbues these men, women and children with quiet fire and vivid sense of style and self.’ (George Pitts, Hotshoe magazine, 2013) Tony Bogard was the last person Lixenberg photographed in this first period in 1993. He was shot dead in 1994.

Lixenberg remained in contact with the community and continued her work in Imperial Courts between 2008 and 2015. She has now added group portraits and landscapes to her individual portraits, and also made audio and video recordings; a new development in her artistic practice. These filmed scenes are observational and tranquil, capturing the people, their surroundings, and the daily rhythm of the neighbourhood. The very ordinariness of these scenes gives them a somewhat surreal and alienating quality, but the viewer is always subtly aware of the tension that hovers just below the surface in a neighbourhood such as this one.

Imperial Courts is the core project of Lixenberg’s oeuvre and life. ‘After twenty-two years, I have reached a point where I just can’t imagine not being here, not having Imperial Courts in my life, not knowing the people I’ve met here over the years,’ she writes in the afterword to the accompanying book.

Huis Marseille exhibition
The exhibition Imperial Courts, 1993–2015 displays the impressive results of this life’s work. A selection of 50 portraits and landscapes, on baryta paper – some of them in monumental format – is on display. A triple-screen video installation immerses the viewer in the community for 70 minutes, and an audio installation reveals the reactions of Imperial Courts residents to Lixenberg’s work.

For more information visit the Huis Marseille website: link

The exhibition is accompanied by a new book, Imperial Courts, 1993-2015, designed by Roger Willems and published by Roma Publications. The book has been shortlisted for the Photobook of the Year Award by Paris Photo and the Aperture Foundation. Language: English, 296 pp., black and white, 24×31 cm, paperback. ISBN 9789491843426.

Thomas Struth, Paradise 09 , Xi Shuang Banna, Prov. Yunnan, China, 1999

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